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Saturday, 3 September 2016

HW 2a - Existing opening sequence analysis (DYM)


The Goonies (1985) Film Opening Analysis

1: The Goonies is an '80s family action-adventure movie.

2: The story is first introduced inside a prison, then establishes a coastal town setting during the car chase scene. It is set in the 1980s, as can be assumed by the dress of the characters, the look of the cars e.t.c.

3: The story begins with a warden finding a man (one of the Fratelli family) hanging from the bars of the window by the neck. Assuming the man is dead, the warden reads the note attached to the man's coat: To whom it may concern - You schmuck. Do you really think I'd be stupid enough to kill myself" The warden is then knocked out cold by the man who was really holding himself suspended by a piece of lead piping. The perspective then changes to the rest of other Fratellis outside; a man who is pouring gasoline in a ring outside the prison doors, and the mother sitting in the drivers seat of a car. The escapee runs from the prison, fails to open the car doors and instead crawls in through the car's overhead window. The male accomplice then fires his gun at the gasoline to trap the guards chasing the prisoner in a ring of fire, thus letting the car escape.

Police cars case the prisoner across a suburban town and passed the principle character's of the film (the Goonies) who, apart from Chunk, are oblivious to the car chase happening around them. The car then manages to escape the police by blending in with a car race on the beach.

By introducing the main antagonist's perspective before introducing the titular characters, the film can be kick-started with an intense, fast paced action sequence which establishes the genre and tone for the rest of the movie. It also provides a car chase set up that lends itself to introducing other elements of the story seamlessly, such as the setting and the main characters.

4: The events link very seamlessly; by following the narrative from the antagonists' perspective, there is a thorough line of action to keep each new event coming right after the last. It also allows everything to happen chronologically; by keeping everything in it's original order, the film can avoid too much confusion from jumping thee audience to earlier events.

5: We are first introduced to the Fratelli family, who act as the antagonists for the film. The audience can interpret this because we have seen one of the son's has just escaped from prison, and the rest of the family spend the car chase shooting the police cars from out the car windows.

As for the other characters the audience is introduced to, we only get fleeting glimpses of their character traits to get a feel for their roles in the film, because the focal perspective of the car chase keeps thee events moving very quickly. In chronological order, we are introduced to: Andy, who teaches the cheerleading squad and appears to be a silly, vivacious character; the family's Spanish housekeeper, who appears bewildered and frightened at the car chase around her; Mouth, who childishly drives a pretend car in front of the TV, yet talks back to his father like a moody teenager; Stef, who is washing her face in a barrel of water by the docks; Data, who uses an invention of his to pull a barrel towards him, hinting that his inventions will come into play later on in the film; and Chunk, who rushes to the window to see the police chase and accidently squirts milkshake all over him, suggesting he will be the butt of many jokes.

6: We learn very little from this opening, yet the intrigue of seeing these characters and the action of the car chase keeps our interest peaked at all times. We do learn that the three criminals are a family (mentioned when the mother of the Fratellis tells the sons to "Trust in your old mother, boys"), and we can learn from their carefully planned escape that they are formidable outlaws. We also learn that the film takes place on a coastal town during the car race at the end of the opening.

A lot of information is deliberately withheld; we know nothing about why the Fratelli son was imprisoned or whether he was guilty, for example. It would be unnecessary information to learn the finer details of his imprisonment, however, and would detract from the action of the opening. We also don't yet learn what ties the principle characters together, on what common ground do they stand - we don't even learn what 'the Goonies' actually means.

7: I believe that at the start of the film, the audience only needs to know enough information to set up an exciting mystery and hint at the events to come. I think this because for an opening to have emotional weight, it has to rely more on the audience's curiosity to keep them intrigued and watching to learn the answers by the end of the film. If too much is said at the beginning of a film, there is nothing for the audience to work out for themselves; however, there must be just enough information given so the audience does not understand any of the context (e.g. the location, the period, the characters)

Director: Richard Donner

2 comments:

  1. You have written two pieces of excellent analysis. Both your film still and opening sequence show very good understanding of genre and narrative although you should try to include more technical terminology in your analysis. Keep up this high standard!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You have written two pieces of excellent analysis. Both your film still and opening sequence show very good understanding of genre and narrative although you should try to include more technical terminology in your analysis. Keep up this high standard!

    ReplyDelete